Wireless Technologies



In the late 1990s early wireless standards like WLAN and Bluetooth were ready to be used beyond the simple file transfer applications they were originally designed for. Network applications were migrating from so-called LANs (Local Area Networks) to PANs (Personal Area Networks) and finally BANs (Body Area Networks) and BSNs (Body Sensor Networks).

Shrinking device size, increasing density and speed, lower energy consumption made these developments possible (see: Moore's Law and Bell's Law). Visionaries like Mark Weiser developed the basic ideas that finally lead to ubiquitous and pervasive (computing) applications.

Whereas in the beginning proprietary solutions lead the application development, in the meantime several standard technologies were developed that are now available and supported worldwide. Especially the short-range applications received a lot of attention, leading to the accelerated development of new areas like remote monitoring, home automation, ambient assisted living (AAL), etc.

Paired with new communication devices and advanced operating systems these wireless technologies are now open to many people that before did not have any relation to this world. Leading the development, Apple and Google introduced the iOS and Android operating systems primarily to be used in mobile applications with so-called smartphones and tablet PCs. Applications (application programs running under an operating system) were downsized to (in most cases but not necessarily) smaller and more focused forms we now often refer to as Apps, in order to point out that these "applications" are meant for the mobile world (although the term has already been known for a longer time).

Although technically seen Apps are nothing but legacy type applications, the term Apps is today used mainly to indicate its use in the mobile context, predominantly related to the iOS and Android operating systems. This also includes the idea of easy (local) deployment and mobile use.

  • Applications: general purpose, often PC-based
  • Apps: related to mobile devices, related to iOS, Android, etc.


Leading wireless standards:

Today the standards that are leading the development in the short-range area of wireless applications are the following ones:

  • ZigBee
  • Z-Wave
  • ANT+
  • Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 (BLE) - Wibree

Please note that this list is not complete, it refers to the freely available systems for which several manufacturers and sufficient support are available, making a sustainable development possible in the academic environment. Proprietary systems are excluded.

At Kiel University of Applied Sciences all these systems have been extensively used in a variety of inhouse or industrie-based R&D projects.

Current projects are centered around the new Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 (BLE) standard.